It was dad jokes and flying carpets for Luca and I this year, as our joint 12 Days of Giving with Jellybean saw us helping Children With Special Needs Foundation (one of our valued charity partners) with the Christmas panto, Aladdin.

After a quick (and surprisingly spicy – don’t get caught out by the delicious but definitely under-chilly-rated Wrap Chic) bite to eat in Woking shopping centre’s food court, we headed to the New Victoria Theatre to meet Ann, Gordon (founders of CWNSF) and the other volunteers for our pre-show briefing.

The task? Chocolate. Luca and I would be on the doors, greeting the families and swapping pink tickets for Cadburys Christmas Selection Boxes as the crowds piled in. Ann told us this would be a very useful position to fill, and it did get quite hectic at times. In the process, Luca and I met some of the children (who were generally very happy to receive the selection boxes) and parents CWSNF help with, all in high spirits and Christmassy dress on this cheerful evening out. We work with CWSNF on a variety of design projects every year, from annual newsletters to Christmas ball tickets and special anniversary logos, and watching the charity in action was brilliant to see.

Ann had got us a couple of seats for the panto itself, so after everyone had filled the theatre and we had completed our chocolate-giving duties, Luca and I stayed to watch the magic/madness on stage. With Bobby Davro as Wishee Washee and his counter-part Widow Twankey (David Phipps-David) pulling out all the puns under the (desert) sun, the jokes came thick and fast, delighting kids and parents alike. Production was quite impressive, with the Genie of The Lamp represented by a large and strapping puppet, and the children (and me also, to be honest!) genuinely amazed by Aladdin’s magic carpet as it flew out OVER THE CROWD in a dazzling display of very clever (or purely magical) showbiz.

Throw in an operatic performance based on Chinese takeaway (including a whole chorus on chicken balls – of course thrown out into the crowd) and Strictly’s Brenden Cole as Genie of The Ring (NOT lamp) and you’ve got yourself a suitably-entertaining Christmas experience, all for a good cause and ahead of official opening, too.

Both Luca and I enjoyed the Christmassy evening with CWSNF very much – thank you to CWSNF for allowing us to help out.